There are some people I know who believe I may be the reincarnation of Carrie Nation or something � the wine warden, the beer buster.
To them, let me say, I have rarely wielded an ax for any purpose, but I do totally understand where the woman was coming from. Nation, for those in need of a brief history lesson, was the flamboyant, hatchet-wielding anti-booze activist of the late 1800s.
I dislike alcohol, personally, but my objection to it is unrelated to my own failure to develop a taste for it.
Though it tastes to me like lighter fluid, I understand that drinking in moderation can be relaxing and even beneficial, sometimes.
However, the potential for abuse and addiction, and the death and destruction that often results, in my opinion, far outweighs any benefits.
If everyone who drank alcohol could control the amount they consume and always remain in control of their judgment and faculties, I would have no objection at all.
But too often, they can control neither, as evidenced by the obvious correlation between alcohol consumption and car crashes, murders and other crimes and stupid, dangerous behaviors.
I dislike how most people behave when they�re drunk, finding it sloppy and often disgusting. And whenever I read about someone killed by a drunk driver, I�m incensed that another innocent person�s life, and at least two more families, had to be sacrificed for some selfish boozer�s personal, momentary gratification.
Like Nation, I was not born with an anti-alcohol animus, but came to it through time and experience. Nation�s first husband killed himself with booze, leaving her alone with a sickly child. She evidently put two and two together, and placed at least some of the blame for her predicament on the alcohol.
Other women, who, along with their families, were suffering the effects of their husbands� drunkenness, began to form what we would now call support groups, what they called Temperance Leagues.
These became more militant, vocal and political over time, and as more and more people became convinced that the �evils of drink� were impacting not just individuals and families, but society in general.
The Temperance movement became the basis for prohibition, the failed legislation aimed at creating a totally �dry� United States.
Obviously, making booze illegal didn�t work, creating millionaires out of criminals and criminals out of regular citizens.
So, I�m not sure what the best answer to the problem is, but there is definitely a problem. If this were not the case, AA meetings would not be so plentiful and packed nationwide.
I understand the personal freedom argument � that people should be able to chose to do whatever they want to in this country, as long as they don�t hurt anyone else, even if they are hurting themselves. And that�s where we run into where, I think, the law perhaps should be able to step in.
In most cases, personal freedom ends where the behavior negatively impacts someone else.
This is a good standard, I think, and it�s the basis for the laws forbidding drunk driving. But I�m not sure that�s enough.
Those laws help protect people on the road, but do nothing for the families who are stuck watching helplessly as their loved one destroys him/herself and their family, one bottle at a time. There must be some way to help those people, too.
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